News and Notes from the Rodeo Trail, Nov. 10

A special one-hour documentary called Buckin’ the Odds – 30 Years of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, telling the story of how the NFR moved from Oklahoma City and landed in Las Vegas in 1985, will air on CBS Sports Network on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET. The program is hosted and narrated by Luke Perry, and interviewees from the rodeo world include Ty Murray, Trevor Brazile, Rich Skelton, Joe Beaver, Billy Etbauer, Ote Berry, Jim Sharp, Cody Ohl, Charmayne James, Kaycee Feild, NFR General Manager Shawn Davis and PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman. CBS Sports Network can be found on DirecTV/Channel 221 or Dish/Channel 158.

The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo plans to stay at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center for another decade, rather than move to the MGM Resorts International/AEG arena being built on the Strip, according to Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson. The 10-year agreement is expected to be signed before the 10-day rodeo opens on Dec. 4. The current lease is set to expire this year.

The contract personnel for the 2015 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo has been announced. They are announcers Bob Tallman and Roger Mooney, secretary Carole Martinez, assistant secretary Debi Davis, timers Amy Muller and Mary Borgen, pick-up men Jeremy Willis and Shawn Calhoun, bullfighters Lucas Littles and Josh Rivinius, barrelman Dennis Halstead and specialty act Troy Lerwill. The 2015 RNCFR will take place March 25-28, in Kissimmee, Fla.

Buck Criss

PRCA Gold Card member William “Buck” Criss, lost his battle with esophageal cancer on Oct. 19, in Tucson, Ariz. He was 84. A bareback rider, Criss won his first championship buckle at the North Texas State Fair & Rodeo in Denton in 1948, and continued competing into the 1970s. He purchased his Gold Card when he turned 50 in 1980. He is survived by his son, Brett Criss; daughter, Beth Ann (Steve) Law; seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

PRCA member and renowned horse trainer Sid Miller, owner of two-time AQHA/PRCA Tie-down Roping Horse of the Year Big Smoking Wonder “Pearl” (2009, 2013), is the newly-elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Miller, a former Texas State Representative, earned a solid victory over Democratic opponent Jim Hogan with 60 percent of the vote. Miller will replace outgoing Commissioner Todd Staples, who decided not to run for re-election in order to pursue a run for Lt. Governor.

On Nov. 2, the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame inducted its inaugural class. Among the 34 people enshrined in the first class was three-time World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider “Cody” Bill Smith. PRCA Gold Card members Les Gore and John Robert “Cub” Forbes were also inducted.

The concert line-up for the 2015 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has been announced. Joe Nichols, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley lead the country singers who will perform, while John Legend and Styx will also be playing the AT&T Center. For a full line-up and dates, visit

In an effort to raise funds and awareness for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, Oregon author Shanna Hatfield is kicking off a promotional campaign Nov. 10 that will run through Dec. 24. During that time, Hatfield is committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from all her book sales to the JCCF. To get the ball rolling, more than fifty bloggers will host Hatfield on their websites this week. The author will also release the third book in the popular Hardman Holidays series, “The Christmas Calamity,” Nov. 13 with a Facebook launch party and prize giveaway. Her books are available on Amazon, Apple and at Barnes and Noble.

Unhappy with several years of disappointing attendance at Little Big Horn Days, officials in Hardin, Mont., are staging a two-day PRCA rodeo in 2015 at the Big Horn County Fairgrounds, replacing the reenactment of Custer’s Last Stand. The parade, live music, street dancing and other activities long associated with the event will continue during the 2015 Little Big Horn Days that is scheduled to take place June 25-28, said Shirley Margheim, the president of the Hardin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Courtesy of PRCA